The Independent reports that Stockholm University researchers conducted the study among 25 participants. They were asked to get two good nights' sleep, and then two bad nights of sleep (maximum 4 hours). Basically, if you look more exhausted, you also look more unhealthy, and this might trigger some diseases-avoiding reactions in others - which would explain why people would avoid socializing with sleep-deprived people.
"Sleep-deprived individuals also look less healthy, and humans, like many other animals, tend to be disease avoidant", the study reads, according to The Independent.
Next, the researchers showed the photos to a different set of 122 volunteers they called "raters".
"Recent findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking exhausted are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others", they add.
The effect of sleep deprivation on other people's desire to socialize with that person was small, but still significant, according to the study's authors.
In even more bad news for poor sleepers, they found that people are less inclined to want to socialize with you if you're exhausted.
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But lead researcher Dr Tina Sundelin added: "I don't want to worry people or make them lose sleep over these findings". On average, the students slept a total of seven hours less over the two restricted-sleep sessions.
Findings published on Wednesday indicated people are less likely to avoid eye contact with those who show signs of sleep deprivation. "Most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again". The adults were asked to rate how attractive, healthy, or trustworthy they perceived the person in each photograph to be, as well as whether they would like to socialize with that person.
'We want our partners to be attractive and energetic.
They also were asked how much they would like to socialize with the person in the photo.
"The reasons for avoiding people who look sleepy may include the fact that sleepy individuals are at a higher risk for accidents, more prone to be carriers of contagious pathogens or aspects making them less socially rewarding to be around".
It's good to know you've got options if you've had a few rough nights, but Sundelin still encourages you to prioritize getting more sleep.